Stuck in the doldrums

23 Jan Sat 

This feels like the doldrums. Intentions feel good, still running regularly. The other parts of the plan feel stuck in the doldrums, held there by a mixture of procrastination, linked to the prospect of not playing any tennis at all receding into the summer.  

This past week the cancellation of Glastonbury has been confirmed, the Olympics seem to be in doubt. There are question marks about the British Indoor Athletics championships due to take place in Glasgow in February. Not to mention the players for the Australian open self isolating in their hotels in Melbourne. It was good to hear  a bit of reality from British wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid, about needing to think first about the wellbeing of the people of Melbourne, rather than complaining about having to self isolate.

One look at the LTA webpages shows everything cancelled until at least April. One brighter spot has been notification of the counties Cornwall over 60’s will face in the intercounties  competition this year. Some optimism being shown at least, though with everything else, there must still be doubts. 

Perhaps this optimism is the way ahead. Reset everything for an April start and adjust as required. Undoubtedly this latest lockdown coming at the start of the year is a real dampener on the start of 2021.

Perspective is everything. Laura Robson looks near to retirement at the age of 27, after a third hip operation.There’s some perspective if ever it was needed to never take things for granted. And remembering that we all have our own unique journey to pursue. On the ITF site they report the retirement of a player aged 75 years.

Perhaps I feel a little flat as my football team Liverpool lost at home for the first time in 4 years continuing their recent slump in form. How they work their way through this period will be very interesting to see. 

Yesterday the PM announced that the new variant was not only more contagious, it was slightly more deadly and particularly to those males over 60. Great! 

I suppose the feeling is one of not knowing and being powerless to do anything about it. The only thing in my control is me, so best look after him as best I can. That project is progressing pretty well for everyday life, though falling a bit short in terms of moving this tennis thing forwards. 

In retrospect it has been a good week with several runs and stretching sessions. Thursday late afternoon was uninviting for a run, ventured out slightly underdressed as the cold wind ignored any protection that I had thought my shirt might provide. Five minutes in and hit by  a short burst of stingy icy almost hail type rain. Dog walkers deep in their coats almost hidden by hoods pulled up, smile as I pass in shirt and shorts. I smile back, in a strange way this is enjoyable. Almost pleasant when it stops. 

Ten  minutes in and into my stride. The grass remains sodden, drying slightly to provide a false sense of firmness, giving way and each footplant sliding ever so slightly, creating an unease that the next one might not hold so well as every so often the grass slides away without resistance. 

I pass coming in the other direction by the lake two teenage girls, running like gazelles moving with grace, speed and hardly touching the ground eating it up with long elegant strides. I have never moved like that. For me at my slower pace, I am moving reasonably well. Then there is contrast, an elderly man moving slowly with small almost shuffling steps and his dog walking patiently a half step in front. The dog almost as if signalling his desire to show the world that his is, a deliberate decision to help his master, though conditioned to slow pace by many such walks around the lake. 

And then a moment to make me smile. A van driver stops to let me across the zebra crossing, unusually braking in anticipation of me reaching the crossing, so that I do not have to break stride. Must be a runner. A thumbs up from me returned with an open palm gesture of minds on a similar wavelength. Connection of sorts – welcome in these socially distanced times. 

However reluctant those first steps, I have never regretted going out for a run. Today is no different.

What follows is a good stretch, notably most for improving my stretching discipline. Normally for each stretch I count to 60. Recently I have become aware that my counting was getting somewhat faster, often skipping over some of those mid twenty , thirty something numbers, not exactly deliberately, just sort of happens. Adherence to steadily counting of the seconds battles the discomfort of the stretch. To correct this I decided to set my stopwatch for each 60 seconds.

24 Jan Sun 

Wrapped up with leggings, hat and gloves to protect against the raw elements of wind and hail. The sea, full of ragged waves with white horses, spectacularly lit by the setting sun a contrast of calm restrained energy.  

Stretch, shower and feel that positive energy surging into every pore of my being. You cannot beat this feeling. You don’t miss it when you don’t exercise, as you don’t know. But when you have it is is fantastic. 

Moving beyond the doldrums now.

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